12 PM Feb 11 2012, Golden Nugget (Laughlin), 172nd (224 entries)
After slowly building my starting stack from 12K to 17K in seat 1 (among my preferred
seat numbers, this one had the added plus of being on the side of the room by a wall)
at one of the tournament's overflow tables in the regular poker room,
when it came time to break up the table and move all
us players into the tournament room, not only did I draw the undesirable seat number 4,
the tables in that room were bunched in way too closely to one another,
leaving almost no space to sit down. Our table was right in the middle of the sea of players, too.
When the player behind me would lean back in his seat, he'd bump into me. The whole scene reminded me of
sitting on a plane.
Good cards might have helped make it all worthwhile, but mine went completely dry.
It got to the point where hands like
in early position started looking really good to me.
I would still fold, but compared to everything else - hands like
ace-rag seemed like a great hand to play!
When my stack had been eaten away by the blinds
and antes down to 12K, and they were going up to
100-400-800 on the next hand, I caught
on the button. A player in early position called the
600 chips, so I decided to limp in myself for 600.
Then the small blind put in a 5.5x raise to 3300. The early
position limper called the 3300. Without much hesitation
I went all-in, for a variety of reasons: (a) impatience from the
crummy preflop cards I'd been getting, (b) the imminent
rise in the blinds and antes, (c) the break had
already begun, thereby possibly increasing the chance that both my
opponents would fold, (d) the chance of
substantially increasing my stack if the hand were
played out and I won, and (e) frankly I was just getting tired
of being packed in so tightly in this sea of players, half-hoping
After deliberating for a bit, the small blind decided
to call. The other player folded. The player in the
blind turned over
I didn't want to see that queen in his hand.
No ten or other winning cards
fell on the board, so I was out fairly early in 172nd place.
It's doubtful I'll enter this monthly
$10K-guarantee tournament at the Golden
Nugget anymore. I must have played it ten times now without
cashing once. The playing environment is substandard
and the tournament isn't run all that well compared
to tournaments at other casinos. It's
Laughlin's only big (somewhat, anyway) poker tournament,
which explains why it draws so many players.
The Golden Nugget's poker room in Las Vegas isn't that much better.
There's hardly any space between the tables up there either.
With so many far better rooms to choose from in Las Vegas and L.A.,
The Santa Fe Station casino in northwest Las Vegas has a similar monthly
prize-pool-guaranteed tournament that's way better. The room is excellent,
the tournament has a better structure, and as if that weren't enough, the SFS offers
high hand payouts to its tournament players. When I played there last summer
they gave me $50 when I made quad sixes on a hand. They pay it even
if everyone else folds. Sure it's just 50 bucks, but hey, I'll take it!